Babies often use gestures before they can speak. Early communication begins with crying, eye contact and facial expressions. It develops with vocalizing and gestures such as pointing, imitation, play and turn-taking. These skills are all essential to speech development, and are combined and reinforced through signing. This is why we use Makaton in all of our nursery settings.
Makaton helps to promote early language skills and encourages children to sign if they would like a drink, want more to eat, are tired or just to say hello or goodbye. We start when babies join us, predominately using Makaton in our baby rooms and integrating it with song time in all rooms. We continue through to pre-school so that every child can communicate with us in some way, even if their language development is slow.
You may have already seen Makaton in use on the “Something Special” programme with Mr Tumble; and you are welcome to visit and see it being used with our babies. We love to see our children singing and signing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer at our Christmas concert.